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24/25 JULY: PARSHA DEVARIM

Shabbat comes in at 8.47pm and goes out at 9.58pm

Saturday is Erev Tisha B’Av

Our parasha is always read on the Shabbat directly preceding Tisha B’av (which begins this Saturday night) — the day in which we commemorate the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem.
Both the Torah reading and the haftorah this week contain the word “Eicha” which is the name of the reading (Lamentations in English) we do on Tisha B’Av.
The prophet Isaiah cries out “Eichah/How about the entire city of Jerusalem — “How has she [Jerusalem] become a harlot! This faithful city that was full of justice . . . is now full of criminals”  
 
In contrast, the “Eichah” of Moses is an individual’s cry of pain.  Moses, the leader, is feeling alone (like Jerusalem in Lamentations) overwhelmed by the burdens of his office.   Rashi suggests that the most frustrating  part of his job is the idle gossip the people regularly spread about him.  According to the Midrash that Rashi cites — if Moses came out of his house early, people would say, ‘Why is Moses so early?  Perhaps he is having family problems at home.’  If Moses were to come out late from his tent, they would say, ‘Moses stays home longer in order to devise negative plans against you.’ ”  
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin writes in Growth Through Torah,  that someone with a tendency to judge people negatively will always find ways to see faults in others.  One can always find some negative motivation or interpretation for the behavior of others.
 
..or we can seek out positive ways to interpret others behavior.   Rabbi Pliskin writes:  “The way you interpret events has more to do with your character traits than it does with the reality of what someone else is like  and, the more good you see in others, the better you yourself will feel.”
Shabbat Shalom — and a meaningful fast for those fasting on Sunday.
Rabbi Paul Arberman
July 22, 2015